Railways have been used for the carriage of mail since soon after the Liverpool & Manchester Railway opened in 1830, the development of the first travelling post offices following, enabling the Post Office to achieve maximum efficiencies in mail transportation. As the rail network grew the mail network grew with it, reaching a peak with the dedicated mail trains that ran between London and Aberdeen. The Post Office also turned to railways when it sought a solution to the London traffic that hindered its operations in the Capital, obtaining powers to build its own narrow gauge, automatic underground railway under the streets to connect railway stations and sorting offices. Although construction and completion were delayed by the First World War, the Post Office (London) Railway was eventually brought into use and was an essential part of Post Office operations for many years. Changing circumstances brought an end to both the travelling post offices and the underground railway but mail is still carried, in bulk, by train and a part of the railway has found a new life as the Mail Rail tourist attraction. Author Peter Johnson has delved into the archives and old newspapers to uncover the inside story of the Post Office and its use of railways to carry the mail for nearly 200 years.
The Post Office Railway, when it started running in 1927, was the first fully automated driverless railway in the world, a full forty years before the Victoria Line started service in London in 1967. The railway below London became the main means of moving mail, with Mount Pleasant being the hub of the distribution system. Linking with London's main line stations most of the country's long-distance mail travelled via the Post Office Railway. The fascinating story of how it began, how it was built, and why it closed is told here in an accessible way that tries to cover a highly technical and innovative system in a way that is easy to understand. The railway closed in 2003, but that was not the end of the story. The Postal Museum took over part of the Mount Pleasant sorting office to tell the story of 500 years of postal history and to open Mail Rail again with specially built trains as a visitor attraction and the start of a whole new adventure.If you are a railway enthusiast, postal enthusiast, urban explorer or just interested in finding out more about one of London's best-kept secrets this book is a must read for you.
The history of the post office involves many of the most significant themes in the social, economic and political history of Britain. Daunton traces the development of the post office as an institution and as a business in the 19th and 20th centuries and places the debates surrounding its history, performances and failings in a longer historical perspective and in the broader context of British national history.
Impeccable scholarship and lavish illustration mark this landmark study of American railroad folksong. Norm Cohen provides a sweeping discussion of the human aspects of railroad history, railroad folklore, and the evolution of the American folksong. The heart of the book is a detailed analysis of eighty-five songs, from "John Henry" and "The Wabash Cannonball" to "Hell-Bound Train" and "Casey Jones," with their music, sources, history, and variations, and discographies. A substantial new introduction updates this edition.